Using a credit or debit card in the United States is asking for trouble these days. A large hotel chain in the US has been infected with malware which steals payment card information. Among the affected hotels are Hyatt, Marriott, and Intercontinental locations. Point-of-sale devices have been affected by this malware attack, although criminals did not obtain any PIN codes.
More US Hotels Infected By POS Malware
It is not the first, nor the last time US hotels will have to deal with malware attacks. Point of sale device manufacturers uses outdated software which is riddled with security holes. It only takes a few attempts by criminals to exploit these vulnerabilities and steal payment card information from these devices.
So far, 20 different hotels have been confirmed to be infected with this POS malware. For now, the breach has allegedly been contained, and future card payments should not be affected by this attack vector. Then again, one never knows for sure whether or not hackers still have backdoor access to these machines.
Anyone who stayed at a major hotel in the US between March 2015 and June 2016 should keep a very close eye on their credit card statements. The majority of malware was found in POS terminals located at hotels, bars, shops, and other facilities. A similar incident affected the Trump Hotel chain earlier this year.
It will be impossible to track down who obtained this information, or when it was used. Since the HEI Hotels and Resorts chain does not store payment data for its customers, it has no clue who may be affected by this malware. Nor do they have any idea as to how many customers may have had their details stolen. A very worrisome turn of events indeed.
One could argue the EMV security measures should prevent card details from being stolen in the first place. While that is certainly true, the majority of US card transactions are still swiped. Magstripe cards need to be removed completely, as they make it far too easy for criminals to obtain sensitive payment information.
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